Congregation Bible Study | Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah
cl chap. 30 ¶19-23, box on p. 309 (30 min.)
19. How does love help us to respond when others offend us?
19 “Love . . . does not become provoked . . . , does not keep account of the injury.” Love is not easily provoked by what others say or do. True, it is only natural to become upset when others offend us. But even if we get justifiably angry, love does not let us remain provoked. (Ephesians 4:26, 27) We would not keep a record of hurtful words or deeds, as if writing them in a ledger so that they will not be forgotten. Instead, love moves us to imitate our loving God. As we saw in Chapter 26, Jehovah forgives when there is sound reason for doing so. When he forgives us, he forgets, that is, he does not hold those sins against us at some future time. Are we not thankful that Jehovah does not keep account of the injury?
Ephesians 4:26, 27 Be wrathful, but do not sin; do not let the sun set while you are still angry; 27 do not give the Devil an opportunity.
20. How should we react if a fellow believer is ensnared by wrongdoing and fares badly as a result?
20 “Love . . . does not rejoice over unrighteousness.” The New English Bible here reads: “Love . . . does not gloat over other men’s sins.” Moffatt’s translation says: “Love is never glad when others go wrong.” Love finds no pleasure in unrighteousness, so we do not wink at immorality of any kind. How do we react if a fellow believer is ensnared by sin and fares badly as a result? Love will not let us rejoice, as if to say ‘Good! He deserved it!’ (Proverbs 17:5) We do rejoice, however, when a brother who has erred takes positive steps to recover from his spiritual fall.
Proverbs 17:5 5 Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker,And whoever rejoices over another’s disaster will not go unpunished.
“A Surpassing Way”
21-23. (a) What did Paul mean when he said that “love never fails”? (b) What will be considered in the final chapter?
21 “Love never fails.” What did Paul mean by those words? As seen in the context, he was discussing the gifts of the spirit that were present among early Christians. Those gifts served as signs that God’s favor was on the newly formed congregation. But not all Christians could heal, prophesy, or speak in tongues. However, that did not matter; the miraculous gifts would eventually cease anyway. Yet, something else would remain, something every Christian could cultivate. It was more outstanding, more enduring, than any miraculous gift. In fact, Paul called it “a surpassing way.” (1 Corinthians 12:31) What was this “surpassing way”? It was the way of love.
1 Corinthians 12:31 But keep striving for the greater gifts. And yet I will show you a surpassing way.
Jehovah’s people are identified by their love for one another
22 Indeed, the Christian love that Paul described “never fails,” that is, it will never come to an end. To this day, self-sacrificing brotherly love identifies Jesus’ true followers. Do we not see evidence of such love in the congregations of Jehovah’s worshipers earth wide? That love will last forever, for Jehovah promises everlasting life to his faithful servants. (Psalm 37:9-11, 29) May we continue to do our best to “go on walking in love.” By doing so, we can experience the greater happiness that comes from giving. More than that, we can keep on living—yes, keep on loving—for all eternity, in imitation of our loving God, Jehovah.
Psalm 37:9-11 9 For evil men will be done away with,But those hoping in Jehovah will possess the earth. ו [Waw] 10 Just a little while longer, and the wicked will be no more;You will look at where they were,And they will not be there. 11 But the meek will possess the earth,And they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.
Psalm 37:29 The righteous will possess the earth,And they will live forever on it.
23 In this chapter concluding the section on love, we have discussed how we can show love for one another. But in view of the many ways in which we benefit from Jehovah’s love—as well as from his power, justice, and wisdom—we do well to ask, ‘How can I show Jehovah that I truly love him?’ That question will be considered in our final chapter.
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 What does it mean to “widen out” in our affections, and how can we apply this counsel?
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 We have opened our mouth to speak to you, Corinthians, and we have opened wide our heart. 12 We are not restricted in our affections for you, but you are restricted in your own tender affections for us. 13 So in response—I speak as to my children—you too open your hearts wide.
1 Peter 1:22 How do these words show that our love for fellow believers must be sincere, genuine, and warm?
1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth with unhypocritical brotherly affection as the result, love one another intensely from the heart.
1 John 3:16-18 How can we demonstrate that “the love of God” remains in us?
1 John 3:16-18 By this we have come to know love, because that one surrendered his life for us, and we are under obligation to surrender our lives for our brothers. 17 But whoever has the material possessions of this world and sees his brother in need and yet refuses to show him compassion, in what way does the love of God remain in him? 18 Little children, we should love, not in word or with the tongue, but in deed and truth.
1 John 4:7-11 What is the strongest motivation for showing love to our fellow believers?
1 John 4:7-11 Beloved ones, let us continue loving one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love. 9 By this the love of God was revealed in our case, that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might gain life through him. 10 The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved ones, if this is how God loved us, then we are also under obligation to love one another.
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